tv The Young Turks With Cenk Uygur Current October 30, 2012 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT
tonight. eliot spitzer will be back with "viewpoint" tomorrow night. right now a great special with governor jennifer granholm. >> jennifer: tonight in "the war room," the politics of putting politics aside. >> election day. it doesn't matter a lick to me. at the moment. >> jennifer: sandy on the eastern seaboard was terrifying, the light of day revealed it had brought was devastating. millions without power. thousands without homes. the damage to infrastructure and property at the moment incalculable. a disas of historic proportions the only silver lining, typical american response. >> obama: during the darkness of the storm, we saw what's brightest in america.
>> jennifer: tonight for the next two hours it is "the war room" special coverage of sandy and politics. let's go right to new jersey where we have abc news correspondent t.j. winnick on the ground in cape may. he's on the part of the jersey shore that was hit hardest by the storm. t.j. welcome inside "the war room". >> jennifer, good to be here. thank you. >> jennifer: governor chris christie said tonight that the jersey shore of his childhood is gone. what does it look like on the ground? >> well, we are in cape may new jersey. cape may is actually the southern most tip of the jersey shore. somehow this community dodged a bullet. folks here tell us that's because the winds actually shifted during high tide last night so the water was pushed
south. but further north in communities like atlantic city, ocean city, point pleasant, asbury park is where the devastation is. those iconic board walks ripped up. the wood scattered across the street. the sea water and the sand inundating those downtown areas. governor christie said -- told us 2.5 million people in the state without power could be eight days or longer before that full power is fully restored. we know the president is due here tomorrow. he will take a look firsthand at the damage with governor chris christie and representatives of fema and of course, as we said earlier, it is going to take a long time to get this back to where it should be. the damage is just absolutely remarkable looking at the jersey shore. all the way north down here toward the south. >> jennifer: so when are the residents going to be able to return to the area?
>> reporter: well, that's obviously going to differ from community to community. and just how bad the damage is. we know that tonight high tide was another concern so authorities were asking folks not to come back to their homes just yet. there was also rain today and so while conditions certainly were a huge improvement over yesterday, they're telling folks that you know, they'll be told community by community when they can come back. >> jennifer: all right. thank you so much. i really appreciate it. abc correspondent t.j. winnick reporting from new jersey's cape may. all right. we're going to check in again with t.j. at the top of the next hour. and across the eastern seaboard, more than eight million people are still without power and the death toll now stands at 40 according to "the associated press." many of those who have passed are from falling trees. today, the president made an unscheduled stop at the red cross headquarters in
washington, d.c. where he outlined his expectations for the federal government's response. >> obama: places like newark, new jersey, for example, where you've got 80% 90% of the people without power. we can't have a situation where that lasts for days on end. my message to the federal government... no bureaucracy. no red tape. get resources where they're needed as fast as possible. >> jennifer: on the political side we're seeing changes to early voting in connecticut maryland north carolina, west virginia washington, d.c. and virginia. new jersey and new york are also considering changes. now, the damage wasn't limited to new jersey. there was massive property damage of course, and loss of life in new york. for the latest from america's biggest city, let's bring in current tv correspondent david shuster in new york city tonight. david, welcome back inside "the war room." >> governor, it is good to be with you in a city that never sleeps it is now being forced to
take a very long nap. the subways are closed. officials say they're going to be closed for at least a week. the practical effect on the city is you can imagine new york traffic is bad enough. well when all of the subways are closed and people can't use the transportation paths it causes gridlock. you have gridlock. anywhere there was a tree, there is a pile of leaves underneath it. in addition, when you look at new york below 39th street, the southern half of the island of manhattan, most of the power there is still out. in fact, officials say that the power is going to be out for at least four or five days. so new york is a mess. people here say this is not anything that they have ever seen and then, of course, you have the heartbreak of the number of people who have died.in the boroughs of queens and brooklyn and along the beaches. it is just a mess. when they talked about how do you get new york back on its feet, the subways, for example seven of the subway stations have water not only just filling the entire station but going up the escalators.
just to get that water out and as you know, governor, a lot of the people who work say in manhattan and run the small businesses and the stores, they have to commute in. there's no way to commute in. the bridges are closed, the tunnels are closed. there's no way to get the city back on its feet for at least a couple of days and so it is -- even like central park, if people want to blow off some steam and walk around the park, no. there are police barricades blocking every inch of central park because of the number of trees that have limbs that are dangling so it is a city unlike anything i'm sure you've ever seen. >> jennifer: david for public safety purposes, which is the most critical issue? is it electricity or water? do they still have to pump water out? >> a couple of things. the key seems to be right now to restore electricity to southern half of manhattan. once they can do that, they can run the pumps and try to start getting water out of some of the transit tunnels and stations there. again, you're talking not just about the subways but there are a lot of skyscrapers and buildings. the empire state building where there's no lights.
people can't go back to work until some of the power gets on. so you can imagine we've talked a lot about the number of people without power and the inconvenience. the economic devastation being caused right now by having america's largest city essentially paralyzed as you've mentioned, that's incalculable. you can't figure out the economic impact because it is so grave right now. >> jennifer: mayor bloomberg said only half of the people who were in mandatory evacuation zones left their homes. what's the repercussions of that? >> well, the repercussions of that is you're starting to see a lot of images of police and fire on boats having to rescue people. there are stories about people being rescued on water skis. after having spent a lot of time, a lot of police resources doing the active rescue operations so because there were so many people, manhattan and the boroughs who decide they were going to ride this out who find themselves surrounded by water and stranded, they're -- 10,000 calls every minute last
night that were going to 911. the average in new york is about 1,000. police are completely overwhelmed. they're trying to prioritize so they get the rescue operations done but before they can start trying to restore power, they also have to make sure the streets and debris is swept off so the utility crews are can get to the power stations, so that the power gets pumped out. it is a mess. >> jennifer: wow, thank you so much. we're going to come back to you later. i know we didn't get to everything. david shuster reporting from new york. coming up, it is impossible to ignore the impact of climate change when viewing a storm of this magnitude. that's not to say that politicians won't try to ignore the impact of climate change and after the break former vice president al gore is going to enter "the war room." we'll get his per spiskt on the storm and on the dramatic increase in extreme weather events. plus as far as october surprises go, this storm is going to rank right up there with the biggest of all-time. historian douglas brinkley will put the storm in context and
perspective and later, it is just an hour's drive from philadelphia to atlantic city. what a difference an hour makes. philly mayor michael nutter will update us on how pennsylvania is faring the day after. two-hour edition of "the war room." we're just getting started o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o good morning ladies and gentlemen, i'm captain whitaker. >> there's 102 souls on board. >> let's get em' tucked in we're ready to push. >> current tv knows there are two sides to every story. >> i have no control on my side! >> this is south jet 227, we are in a dive! here we go! brace for impact! >> you saved a lot of lives. > denzel washington saving the day. >> he was very worried. >> looks like a cool character. >> he reminds you of. >> sully. >> he has to be a hero. >> he definitely a hero, yea. >> now, what if you heard the other side of the story? >> i had a couple beers the night before the flight. >> you had alcohol in your system. that could be life in prison. >> are you hiding something? >> well, there's a darker side to this guy. >> makes it a lot more complicated. >> there's more depth there.
>> there were warnings that this hurricane, days before it hit would breach the levees, would cause the kind of damage that it ultimately did cause. and one question we, as a people need to decide is how we react when we hear warnings from the leading scientists in the world. >> jennifer: that's former vice president al gore talking about hurricane katrina in his 2006 academy winning documentary, an inconvenient truth. the movie for those of you who have not seen it, warns us that due to climate change, we will experience many more super storms like sandy which
forecasters say was the largest hurricane in atlantic history. climate change deniers will say the weather has always been weird. here are some inconvenient truths that they may want to consider. in the 1970s, there were just an average of under eight named storms per year. named storms like the a b c. in the 198hehe ample w ju ju u uerer nine ---- the average was just under nine per year. in the 1990s, it was about 11 named storms per year. in the 2000s it jumped to nearly 15 storms a year and get this, in the first three years of this decade, 2010, 2011, 2012 the average is just under 19. specifically, we had 19 named storms in 2010. we had 18 in 2011 and so far we've had 19 named storms and there is an entire month left in hurricane season this year. so we're going to start running
out of letters in the alphabet to use when we start to name storms but it is obviously much more serious than that. i am privileged to be joined on the phone tonight by former vice president al gore from nashville, tennessee. al gore of course is the cofounder of current tv as well as his many other attributes. mr. vice president so great to have you join us inside "the war room." >> thank you very much, governor. it is an honor to you to be with you. >> jennifer: all right. you wrote in an article today on "huffington post" that dirty energy creates dirty weather. so can you say that there is a definite causal relationship between these extraordinary climate events like sandy and human activity like burning coal or oil or gasoline for energy? >> al: yes absolutely, jennifer. the scientific community in the last few years has become much more explicit in describing this causal link. they used to say that the most
it was possible to say in linking them was the extra global warming pollution made such storms more likely. we were changing the odds. it was like loading the dice. but now they're saying something different. they're saying that it's gone so far that we have now become responsible for an extra 4% of moisture in the atmosphere above the oceans in just the last 30 years. so every single storm is affected. there's more moisture. the storms are getting stronger. the stronger storms are getting more frequent. and you know, this is the second time in two years that part of manhattan has been shut down. you know that didn't used to happen like this. and one of the principal reasons
again, the warmer oceans facilitate more evaporation into the atmosphere and more importantly, the warmer air holds more moisture. if you take a hot shower, the mirror over the sink may steam up. if you take a cold shower, it won't. the warmer air holds much more water vapor and so when the storm moves off the ocean over the land, it funnels all of that moisture into the larger downpours. and that's exactly what has happened with hurricane sandy. >> jennifer: well, of course, scientists are really cautious bunch. i think that even recently, there has been qualifying language that they have been articulating which didn't clearly attribute causation. and i'm wondering if that's not part of why the alarm bells have not been ringing in congress. >> al: well, you know, it depends on the scientists. the leading edge scientists like
jim hanson, kevin trenberth jim mccarthy, the ones that i think are right out at the cutting edge have been saying this. but you're quite right that many scientists have been very cautious and science has a cautious culture. you could almost say a conservative culture. their peer review process discourages them from even thinking about going out on a limb. and so they -- they are inherently cautious and conservative. but the evidence is now so overwhelming. you know, in the last ten years you showed some of the statistics but there there's an analysis of the extreme hot temperatures on the surface of the earth. they're now 100 times more common than they were just 30 years ago. and it is these extremely hot temperatures that are responsible for the increased evaporation, the increased water
vapor in the air the increased drought. and remember this is hardly the only climate related disaster that we've had this year. 65% of the united states has been affected by a very widespread and extreme drought this year. food prices have been affected. much of the west, including the epic fire in colorado springs was on fire this summer. we have seen this over and over again. pakistan. here in nashville two years ago we had what they called a once in a thousand year downpour. thousands of my neighbors lost their homes and businesses and had no flood insurance because it had never ever flooded in the areas that were flooded. so people here in nashville have their hearts going out to the folks in new york city and new jersey and the other areas affected by hurricane sandy. we've been through it down here,
too. >> jennifer: well, what is so frustrating is there are an awful lot of science-denying senators running for office who obviously are completely turning their backs on the clear science, as you say. rayberg is running against john tester in montana. he calls climate change mitigation policies unnecessary and economically destructive as though climate change itself is an economically destructive -- dean heller running for senate in nevada. oklahoma they call global warming a hoax. how worried we should be that we can ever address this problem if these guys continue to deny a problem exists? >> al: well, that is an extremely serious problem and it is not that part of the -- that part of the problem is not limited to climate. one of the reasons for the catastrophic invasion of iraq is the misleading statements led 3/4 of the american people to actually believe that the
dictator of iraq, saddam hussein, was responsible for the attacks on 9-11 so many people thought that invasion was you know, the best way to exact revenge on the person who attacked us. it wasn't true. and the temptation to create an alternative reality completely divorced from the facts is greater when money dominates politics and they are -- they convince themselves that if they just get all of the special interests, including by the way, the coal and oil companies who are big funders especially of the republican candidate if they get them to give them enough money they'll run these misleading tv ads and twist the facts and convince people that is up down and black is white and the climate change isn't real. >> jennifer: all right. so there's all of this -- there it's all of this science out there about the dangerous level of green house gas that we need to be afraid of. when do we need to start
panicking? >> al: well, you know, panic is never something that is advisable but the evidence is in. 97% to 98% of all of the most actively publishing climate scientists every single national academy of science in the world every professional scientific association in the world agree on the consensus view. and you have the large carbon polluters, desperately trying to hold back the truth and running all of these ads. current tv is the only news network on tv that doesn't have all of this sponsorship from the coal and oil companies. all of the others have it. and they're among the two or three biggest advertisers on television. you see their ads everywhere. and they pay even more money and
lobbying. they're for anti-climate lobbyists on capitol hill, every single member of the house and senate. they're using their big money to promote dirty fuels that lead to dirty weather. and the scientists have told us that exactly what's happened with hurricane sandy is going to be more common and i saw an estimate today that when you factor lost business in and all of the disaster damage, this could be a $50 billion hurricane. now, we had 12 last year, climate-related disasters over a billion dollars. hurricane irene was over $15 billion. it is not good economically. it is not good environmentally. and it is terrible to say to our children that we don't care about your future. we're just going to continue dumping 90 million tons of global warming pollution every single day into the atmosphere as if it's an open sewer. even though the scientific
community tells us it's creating a disaster. >> jennifer: well, i tell you thank you for the wakeup call and for the clarity that is former vice president al gore with a clear message. up next, he quite literally wrote the book on hurricane katrina. he knows a little something about presidential elections as well. it is a good combination for tonight's show. historian douglas brinkley is entering "the war room." he's next. stay right with us.
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very, very excited about that and very proud of that. >>beltway politics from inside the loop. >>we tackle the big issues here in our nation's capital, around the country and around the globe. >>dc columnist and four time emmy winner bill press opens current's morning news block. >>we'll do our best to carry the flag from 6 to 9 every morning. >>liberal and proud of it. > jennifer: you're back inside "the war room." i'm jennifer granholm. political junkies who are waiting for this election's october surprise finally got it this week. of course, in the form of super storm sandy. as we've been telling you sandy has devastated large swaths of the east coast. there are millions still without power and subways remain flooded in new york city. while sandy's impact may not
reach hurricane katrina levels of devastation, still very early but early estimates do suggest that damages from this storm are going to be massive as vice president gore was just saying. coming to us tonight from houston to discuss october surprises is presidential historian and university president douglas brinkley, also the author of kronkite as well as the great deluge which is considered by many to be the book of record about hurricane katrina and its devastating aftermath in louisiana. douglas, welcome back inside "the war room." >> thanks for having me. wonderful interview with al gore. i greatly enjoyed that. >> jennifer: i did too. >> he's superb. >> jennifer: so right on. thank you for that. >> yep. >> jennifer: this particular storm, is this the first natural disaster october surprise? >> yeah. this is a unique moment for presidential politics. when something of this magnitude
is happening right on the heels of a presidential election. i mean obviously we've had elections in more dire times. i mean 1944 we were in the middle of world war ii with you know g.i.s spread all over the world unable to come home and we're running elections during something like that. but nevertheless, this is going to be noted for quite some time and many people are shocked that a hurricane or a near hurricane of this magnitude could even hit this late in october. but it is still hurricane season. >> jennifer: it is. well, there was a hurricane in a recent presidential election which was i think hurricane andrew struck florida in i think 1992 when president bush the first was running for re-election against bill clinton. did his handling of that storm in any way affect the elections' outcome. of course, for the record, bush lost. >> well, you know, the difference is that was in august of '92.
and it did hurt him because the democrats had a couple of months to start saying he did not do enough. people in florida were quite livid about bush in '92. of course, he loses to al gore. but there are other factors. ross perot running and getting 19% on the fact that he had -- read my lips, no new taxes. the economic woes of that year. but nevertheless, his inaction of andrew was noticeable and in 2005, you know, george w. bush asked president his flyover of katrina got people very, very angry. in many ways, it hurt the republican party in 2008 along with the war in iraq and the economic crisis of '08, it was sort of the third horseman of the woes that w brought on the country that he didn't seem to care enough during the time of the katrina disaster. >> jennifer: you wrote about this in the great deluge. you wrote after katrina the gulf south region and the united
states as a whole needed compassion. what it got instead was the incompetence of george w. bush who acted as though he were disinterested in a natural disaster in which there was no enemy to be found. bush's slow responses to the great deluge made americans ask if he was a bunker commander in chief. and many people would argue that he never recovered from that. would you agree? >> i agree and i was in new orleans when katrina hit. and i was flabbergasted. i mean he went on from crawford, texas to san diego and gave a speech about the navy and about the war in iraq being much like japan. refused to get off script and michael chernoff, head of homeland security for atlanta. meanwhile, 80% of new orleans was underwater and it was -- it was a lesson. 1965 when hurricane betsy hit lbj went to the stricken area. he even went in a boat with a
flashlight shining in his own face and saying i care. so when you watch president obama tomorrow go to new jersey and look at some of the devastation, it is very important because the president is telling all of us he's our representative. that we really care about these eight million people or more without electricity and about the 40 or 50 dead so far and about all of the people being inconvenienced let alone the economic devastation. >> jennifer: so generally who do natural disasters help? do they generally help the the cumbent or the challenger? i suppose that's how the incumbent handles it, right? >> it depends on how the incumbent handles it. in one way president obama's been -- has been able to, you know, kind of stop whatever poll momentum romney seemed to be getting or at least we were all talking about 50 different polls from ohio. you don't hear about them anymore. since president obama had a lead in most of these swing states, i
think political analysts would say it is probably -- doesn't hurt president obama any. on the other side of the net mitt romney has been able to unpack in ohio for a few days, shake a few more hands kiss a few more babies, give a few more press conferences and speeches there. we'll see how it plays out in election night. right now i don't think it's had the impact on this election. it is just -- and votingwise. at least there's no evidence of it yet. we'll see, you know, the stock market opens tomorrow. how will the markets respond to this? you know, you can have a -- the economy rebounding and the president with good p.r., could be a dismal stock market going down and people get jittery and think they want change. but i could tell you this. president obama's done a marvelous job of holding our country and the people here up in the right way. everything he's done so far i
think has been pitch perfect. >> jennifer: well so you are a great historian. you've covered all of the presidents and their races. i don't know if past is prologue but certainly you can have an informed guess, i would imagine on what will happen on tuesday. what do you think is going to happen? >> you know, governor, i've no more knowledge than anyone else but i loved your convention speech because i grew up outside of toledo, ohio. i think the mistake mitt romney made started when he said let detroit go bankrupt in that article that appeared. that spread wide through ohio and it gave the president an ability to really use that auto bailout as a big feather in his cap. it makes a difference in ohio and i don't see how mitt romney can be president without ohio so we'll see how it plays out there. but it is i think just like before sandy it is still about who wins ohio. >> jennifer: i agree with you. i'll have more to say about that at the end of the show.
i certainly appreciate you coming inside "the war room." that's author and historian douglas brinkley. up next, philadelphia was one of the many cities along the eastern seaboard that had to brace for the worst. mayor michael nutter assesses the storm's impact on his city and more. that's nexttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt (vo) this election, there's a new sheriff in town, and she's going to cut through the noise. wanda sykes will be keeping it simple, boiling it down, shaving the head of this beast ... >> ah, shut your yap! (vo) oh. >> hey. watch the show. i'll have experts make sense of [bleep] so you can vote smart. (vo) it's an all new election special. (vo) wanda sykes. breaking the election down like a >> shut up! [ male announcer ] red lobster's hitting the streets to tell real people about our new 15 under $15 menu. oh my goodness! oh my gosh this looks amazing! that's a good deal! [ man ] wow! it is so good! [ male announcer ] our new maine stays! 15 entrees under $15
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many of them are also without cell phone service. today, governor andrew cuomo said new yorkers should expect cell service to get worse before it gets bert and of course, it is happening all across the eastern seaboard. for more on the devastating damage to the east coast we're going to go to abc's brandy hitt. >> reporter: after sandy delivered a record breaking punch, residents in the battered mid-atlantic states are faced with flooding, power failures and the daunting task of cleaning up. >> i guess everybody just thought that nothing's going to happen. >> reporter: the power outages are spread over several states from virginia to maine. almost ten million residents are in the dark. >> obama: i want every agency to lean forward and to make sure that we are getting the resources where they need -- >> reporter: an unprecedented 13 foot storm surge crashed into lower manhattan sending a deluge of salt water into new york city's subway system. which also inundated tunnels. one major tunnel took in more than 11 feet of water pushing
cars and stacking them up like toys. >> the mta last night faced a disaster as devastating as it has ever faced in it history. >> reporter: the waves even pushed this 700 ton tanker on to a staten island street. more than 50 homes were destroyed when two fires sparked in the rockaways. firefighters rescued dozens of people trapped inside. the storm turned the bustles streets of lower manhattan into a ghost town. still as the day progressed, some curious new yorkers ventured out to inspect the damage. >> we saw the river coming toward us and it -- it actually looked like something out of a -- out of a movie. >> reporter: new york governor andrew cuomo says recovery will take awhile and he hopes new york will rebuild smarter in anticipation of future, severe weather events. >> we have an old infrastructure and we have old systems and that is not a good combination. >> reporter: as you can see lower manhattan is still in the
dark. and more than eight million people are without power all across the region. it could be several days before new york city subway system is fully operational. brandy hitt, abc news, new york. >> jennifer: we're going to go to the front lines of the storm. for how the major cities are working is philadelphia mayor michael nutter. he's also the president of the u.s. conference of mayors. mr. mayor, welcome back inside "the war room." >> thank you governor. and first let me start by saying that our hearts, our concern but also our expression of support at many levels go out to mayor mike bloomberg in new york and other mayors in new jersey and other cities. we've already sent some personnel from philadelphia up to new york and to new jersey to try to be as helpful and supportive as possible. these are devastating
circumstances. our deepest sympathies to those who have either been injured or certainly family members of those who have died. this is the toughest time to be in public service as you certainly well know. and i just want to state that from the start. >> jennifer: yeah, i appreciate that. it is a great statement of how mayors and governors often put aside their partisan politics when human life is at risk. there is real damage and pain. thanks for stating that and for being a great example of it. how is it going in philadelphia compared to the worst-hit areas to your north? >> well certainly philadelphia, we took a hit. from hurricane sandy. and numerous trees down. the start of the day. we had 65,000 people without power. that number is now a little below 60,000. nearly a million in the region.
but those numbers are coming down as well. trees all over the place. roads closed. but no serious injuries. we had one minor injury which is just incredible. given the devastation that wind and rain, that combination directly at philadelphia. it could have been much worse. we're grateful for where we are and the city is starting to come back. bus service and el and underground service started up earlier today. we announced the city is back in business tomorrow. all schools are operating and we will be pretty much fully operational in philadelphia tomorrow. still trying to make sure people have power. that's the main issue. >> jennifer: that is great. you were on the call today with president obama and governors and other mayors. what was president obama's message to you? >> i heard you played part of the -- i guess a clip from his
speech. president obama is singularly focused on making sure that states and cities -- governors and mayors on the call -- he wants to make sure that the department of homeland security and fema do everything they possibly can. i've never heard the president so serious so direct, so focused and literally kind of listening as a civilian though to the commander in chief. he's directing his forces to make sure that all of us get what we need and said basically at the end if you're not getting something, call me directly at the white house. i'm going to be up pretty late for the next couple of days. >> jennifer: there's nothing more reassuring than that. >> no. >> jennifer: than getting the phone number from the president in case you need something. >> who are you going to call? you know, i'm going to call the president of the united states. i think i'll get something done. >> jennifer: he'll take my call. >> yeah.
fema administrator fugate, they're doing their job. when it comes directly from the president, that's a serious -- that's a serious directive. >> jennifer: so in cities and in states, there are emergency operation centers that coordinate. for those watching the program who are not familiar with how that coordination goes, can you give me a brief description of how that goes in philadelphia? >> yeah. in philadelphia, we have an emergency operation center. we have a director. her name is samantha phillips. she's basically in charge of and coordinates a whole operation across the entire government and with the number of other agencies. we all take direction at that point. those forces, combined with our state agencies and fema at the federal level you get a complete synergy among all of those entities and we fight the storms whether it is a hurricane, whether it's a heavy snowstorm or any other event. we fight them with everything that we have and again we were
fortunate in philadelphia. i know some other locales had their challenges. but it is a command central operation and they are getting information in and kicking information out throughout the jurisdiction. to make sure there's full coordination. >> jennifer: it is amazing to me -- people may not realize it. the one type of area where you have complete synergy between federal, state and local where they're all in the room if he table including some members of folks who can amass contributions from the private sector. it is an amazing operation. let me quickly turn to the election because obviously pennsylvania is a state that has become in focus again. one week away. the romney campaign is up with a new ad in pennsylvania. curiously. let's listen to one part of it. >> obama: if somebody wants to build a coal fire plant, they can. it is just that it will bankrupt them. >> announcer: obama kept that promise and pennsylvania coal paid the price. >> jennifer: so the romney war room wants to keep it close in
pennsylvania. how are democrats going to keep the president's lead with attention focused on the storm aftermath? >> well, they can hope for that. some days i hope my hair will come back but that's not going to happen. [ laughter ] this is straight out of the republican playbook. this is nothing but the old okey-doke. they want to act like they can actually do something in places where they know pretty much the ball game is over. president obama is going to win pennsylvania. they know that. we know that. everybody knows that. yet they want to act like by running some action ds -- ads at the last possible minute. we're within seven days of the election. pennsylvanians know that romney economics don't work. they know that mitt romney is clearly suffering from romnesia and that his economic plan -- he couldn't have been explained himself at the debate. so this is their strategy. these are just tactics. we're focused. we have a ground game.
>> jennifer: tell me about your get out the vote effort quickly. >> it is a massive effort. not just here in philadelphia. through the philadelphia suburbs and all across the commonwealth of pennsylvania, we're geared up and ready to go. it is all about g. o. it. ware going to take pennsylvania. >> jennifer: from your mouth to god's ears with a whole lot of work in between. that's philadelphia mayor michael nutter. thanks for coming inside "the war room." up next, president obama and mitt romney are both try hing to avoid politics this week. that doesn't mean politics won't find them. that story is next right here in "the war room." current tv encourages you to vote on november 6th but just as importantly to take the time to learn about each candidate's stance on the issues that matter to you. to help you make informed decisions, watch current tv's politically direct lineup.
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important elections of our lifetime. so for a look at how the storm might impact it and for the latest on the campaign trail i'm joined now by democratic strategist keke mclean. she was a senior adviser to hillary clinton's 2008 campaign. has worked on a gazillion campaigns. she's now a partner and managing director at the public relations firm porter and novelli. she joins us from washington, d.c. where she's just digging out from the storm or at least recovering. welcome back inside "the war room," keke. >> grad to see you governor. how are you this evening? >> jennifer: i'm doing great. drier than you all are. things are going to open up tomorrow in d.c. tomorrow i understand. >> i think they will. >> jennifer: let's talk about the crisis first. what's the best way to respond to a crisis like this from the point of view -- let's just say of both the incumbent and the challenger? >> yeah. well the incumbent needs to do his job. he needs to be the leader that he was elected to be and i think you see that happening in the
case of president obama. when you hear from his fellow leaders like chris christie and like mayor nutter in philadelphia that he's been the kind of leader who's getting the resources folks need on the ground to deal with this crisis. that's the most important thing. failed leadership is deadly in this case. but in this case, i think we're seeing a president step up to be the kind of leader many knew he would be. >> jennifer: go to romney now. >> so romney, the worst thing he can do is be political and try to force a conversation that people don't want. in fairness to governor romney, he's done that. great example is where he misstepped on that when it came to libya the nights of benghazi and what happened with his campaign putting out a statement too early inappropriately. and tried to make what was a real issue for people dealing with real consequences one of political mayhem for him. that would be the wrong thing to do in this instance. it is hard.
he's seven or eight days out from the election of his lifetime. but this is not his role. it is president obama's role and he's taking it on well. >> jennifer: try to be as objective as possible. who does the storm benefit or hurt? does it matter? >> you know, you can't really say that. i'm really sensitive to the politics of this. my sister is a katrina survivor on the mississippi gulf coast. our family was blessed and survived all of that. it was really hard. and the one thing i would say is that any time an incumbent leader gets to show leadership, they're doing their job and it is one more reason to support them when they're up for re-election. but that's really what you call the benefits of incumbentship wouldn't you? >> jennifer: yeah. >> because the risk is also equally on the other side. if a leader does not step up in a time of need or crisis, it is equally deadly for them politically. >> jennifer: you have to hand it to mitt romney for at least encouraging people to donate to the red cross et cetera. i think that's a form of leadership as well. but clearly the president has
the microphone at this point. we're seeing -- i'm curious about what we're seeing in terms of the fallout of the storm itself. we're seeing changes in early voting in states all along the eastern seaboard. do you think that's going to make a difference? will people go to the polls anyway just a little later? will it suppress the vote? >> well, i think what's interesting was these tremendous lines that you saw before the storm came. at early voting. you saw lines like it was election day. so we know that turnout was very heavy in those early-open polls. i believe that people who were inclined to go and stand in the lines will share that sense of urgency even afterwards. i think in some states like virginia, once we find out what happens there with the harder-hit areas in particular, might make a difference. frankly, when you look up the coast into new jersey, could make a difference. but i'm really fascinated by the level of intensity in there's been on early voting and so i think that those folks will come back as soon as those polls are open again.
>> jennifer: the northern virginia suburbs are disconcerting. there's also been a lot of speculation about whether this storm would actually change the date of the election nationally. there's not any possibility of that happening right? >> you would be hard-pressed to find someone who could find a reason and the argument to make that happen unless there was significant voter suppression as a result of that. we usually use the term voter suppression through intentional negative activity in politics but in this case, through natural disaster. i think at this point as places come back online, in the next 24 hours, you'll have a better handle on that. one thing i want to point out is moments of crisis, while it sort of feel like from the raw political side, what a great moment for president obama because he's done such a good job and shown such tremendous leadership for folks up and down the east coast and across the country as a result is the sense of nonpartisanship, coming
together to solve it. >> jennifer: let me interrupt you because i want to play a sound byte from chris christie speaking of nonpartisanship. >> i have to say the administration, the president himself and fema administrator craig fugate have been outstanding with us so far. we have a great partnership with them and i want to thank the president personally for his personal attention for this. >> jennifer: i have to say chris christie is becoming my new favorite republican. what do you think of that strategy that he's -- it is just an honest praise for a good job done. >> that's exactly right. they're partners right now. that's what they need to be. he's right to do that. it would be a wrong step for him politically and morally if he didn't do that. so good for him. and that's where you see -- it is tremendous when you see moments like 9-11 when folks are working together and you see people stepping out. leaders at both the state local and the federal level coming out to do that. we've seen it with past
presidents coming together, right? with president bush senior and president clinton. that's what america expects. when they don't see that, they will hold leaders accountable. so these leaders are doing the right thing in this moment and frankly that benefits mitt romney as well in the long run. >> jennifer: it is america. people love to see that. thank you, kiki for joining us inside "the war room." good luck as you make your way through the challenges of d.c. tomorrow. hopefully all will be well. we're about halftime here in "the war room on our two-hour special. coming up, the latest on the fallout from hurricane sandy. we'll go live to the areas that are hardest hit with reports from new jersey and new york city to bring you the very latest right now plus when it is all said and done, fema and the first responders will be among the heroes of this disaster. we're going to once again ask republicans if they want to reiterate their plans to cut funding to both. you're watching "the war room." it is only on current tv.